“You I’ll Be Following” (Love)

If this trax concerns “real” human beings, then it’s a story about the singer’s shift from chasing drug dealers all over the globe to a new place where another person has replaced drugs in his affection. But Arthur Lee’s vocal emphasis on “I” and “you” makes one wonder whether the deeper topic is strictly pronominal. Émile Benveniste, in “Relationships of Persons in the Verb” (1946) teaches us that first, second and third persons are born together and in hierarchical, force relations: “‘I’ is always transcendent with respect to ‘you’,” for instance, and both “I” and “you” lord it over the third person (or what Benveniste pointedly calls “the non-person”). So what does it mean to suggest that, at some time in the future, “You I’ll be following”? It would be too much to ask Lee to figure out a way to alter the entire structure of language. But at least this trax suggests an extended holiday from primacy.


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